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BAJA LOST MISSION EXPEDITION 2011 (PART 5)

Discussion in 'Off-Roading & Trails' started by David K, May 15, 2011.

  1. May 15, 2011 at 12:02 PM
    #1
    David K

    David K [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Continued from: http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/of...-expedition-2011-part-4-el-volcan-geyser.html

    A visit to the El Volcan Cold Water Geyser is one of Baja's must-do events. To catch the monthly eruption (in the daytime) would be perhaps the most amazing thing to experience in Baja. When we were in the area 11 years ago, my travel amigo Lorenzo de Baja considered setting up a camp for up to a month to witness the event!

    I have no knowledge of any photos or documentation of the eruption other than in Walt Peterson's 'The Baja Adventure Book' describing the event as a 60 foot plume of water and gas (CO2?) lasting several minutes.

    One last look at El Volcan:
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    Here is the fork 2 miles from El Marmol (and 2 miles from Arroyo El Volcan)... facing northeast. Before the road was graded, both branches looked equally used (or unused):
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    On the road to El Marmol

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    Nearing the Onyx quarry you can see the old road climbing the hill... this was the road south, 10.3 miles back to the old main road (between Agua Dulce and La Virgen). I travelled it twice (in 1974 and '75). Neal Johns took it about 10 years ago... I wouldn't go solo as there may be some deep washouts.

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    The schoolhouse

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    Some of the home foundations from 1958 and earlier.

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    Graveyard

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    In 1953:

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    Sign pointing the way to El Volcan (4 miles) and La Olvidada (10 miles). It is 9 miles from this point back to Hwy. 1 (Km. 148/9). Rancho Sonora is just south of the El Marmol jcn.
    See the onyx gifts for sale there!
     
  2. May 15, 2011 at 12:10 PM
    #2
    David K

    David K [OP] Well-Known Member

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    A couple miles before reaching Highway One is the site of Rancho San Simon where only a windmill, pila (water tank), and the world's only onyx cattle trough can be seen today!

    Here the graded road to Highway One curves south, and the original road to San Agustin is barely noticed continuing southwest.

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    The owner of Rancho Sonora (son of that rancho's founder 'Santiago') was filling up some barrels with water from the windmill.

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    The World's only onyx water trough!

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    Matomi Mountain

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    Coco sure gets around!

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    Next, we go to Rancho Sonora and see the onyx curios for sale there.
     
  3. May 15, 2011 at 12:26 PM
    #3
    David K

    David K [OP] Well-Known Member

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    We reached Hwy. 1 and turned south to visit Rancho Sonora, which can be seen a kilometer away from the El Marmol junction (located between Km. 149 & 150).

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    (Photo from Vern)

    I had last stopped here in July, 2000 with Lorenzo de Baja, after we camped by El Volcan. We had come for breakfast and enjoyed the treat before heading north.

    Rancho Sonora was established about 1965 on the old main road, 1/2 mile north. In fact, you can see the foundation for it just to the right of the new El Marmol road, where it crosses the old road (a big tire sign for Tres Enriques ranch is to the left at the old road).

    When the highway was built through here in 1973, Santiago moved his ranch to the side of the highway (as did others seeking business with travelers). It was posted on BajaNomad.com that Santiago passed away a few months ago. It was his son we had just met at the windmill.

    Next to the rancho is a large parking area for R.V.s for camping or to park and use another vehicle to run to El Marmol.
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    Spanish has no word for 'onyx', so their word for marble 'marmol' is used. Onyx is harder and polishes nicer than marble... Marble is harder than limestone.

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    We next headed to El Rosario... 57 miles away. Topped off our gas tank and headed north 225 miles to the U.S. border...

    Another great, great trip into the wilds and wonders of Baja California, Mexico! I can't wait to go back... and will in 2 weeks (Memorial Day weekend)!

    Does this kind of thing appeal to your sense of adventure? See my Baja web site for Baja photos, history, maps, and more!: http://VivaBaja.com
     
  4. May 15, 2011 at 12:45 PM
    #4
    David K

    David K [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Of interest, the world's tallest onyx statue at 38 feet, is the 'Vision of Peace' (originally called 'Indian God of Peace') in St. Paul, Minn. Completed in 1936 and all made from onyx mined at El Marmol, Baja California.

    [​IMG]

    Read more on El Marmol onyx mine in this article I wrote recently:

    http://www.bajabound.com/bajatravel/the_onyx_of_el_marmol.php
     
  5. May 20, 2011 at 10:16 PM
    #5
    Digiratus

    Digiratus Adventurer

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    Very interesting and enjoyable. Thanks for sharing your fun with us. Someday I would enjoy exploring baja calaifornia.
     
  6. May 20, 2011 at 11:03 PM
    #6
    kingtaco

    kingtaco Well-Known Member

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    It's too bad with the drug wars going on down there. It would be nice to go back down there and show my son how his O'l man and his friends roll.
    Shit...even if there weren't drug wars going on I still wouldn't go back. We used to go camping on the beach and surf all day and party all night. It was the best time of my life. We would stay down there for 2-3 weeks. The last trip was in 1992. A friend of mine had spent all winter re-building a 1986 4 door toyota land cruiser. It was bad ass. The first trip of the summer just after he finished it we stopped at revolution street on our way to baja. My gut said this was a bad idea, we had been making that trip for the last five years and I had the same feeling every time. Long story short when we got to where the cruiser was parked it was gone. All our gear, clothes, boards, and money where gone with it. The last couple of years we notice things down there were starting to get a little more sketchy. We had some close calls with the cops(I don't like calling them that) and some locals but his cruiser getting stolen was the last straw. Non of us have ever crossed the boarder since.
     
  7. May 21, 2011 at 8:10 AM
    #7
    David K

    David K [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Don't blame you...

    but...

    If that happened in downtown Los Angeles (and it does all the time), would you stop going to California or the U.S. ? Your 'gut feeling' is usually right... If your goal was a Baja camping trip, then why stop in downtown Tijuana (no need to answer that)? How did they steal the truck (unlocked, keys left in ignition)? That is one busy street and lots of police... unless it was 3 am.

    Yes, it is a bit of a risk to go to Mexico... as it is to get out of bed and drive to work. You have to do what you love and not let the news keep you from enjoying life. That said, where I go to camp or off road is NOT in any city, not on a paved highway, and usually someplace where nobody else goes... specially 'banditos' in 2WD cars.

    I do not stop in Tijuana or Rosarito... and maybe only in Ensenada for some tacos or gasoline... in the daytime. Just be smart... the people of Baja are great and want us to vacation there... this bad press (and the drug wars along the border cities) has really hurt their ability to put food on their family table.

    So, cross the border during the day, zip through Tijuana (if you even need to go through there... many choose Tecate to avoid TJ), stay at secure motels recommended by other Baja traveles (see BajaNomad.com forums) or go camping away from the highway.

    The above has worked for me, and I have been driving to and camping in Baja since I was 16 years old in 1974 (and before with my parents).. and we have NEVER had any problems or been robbed... and I am talking HUNDREDS of trips. I am not the only one, but you will only read about the one American tourist killed a few years ago in Mexico as a headline (and not the daily killings in our own cities). You have as much a chance of being robbed or killed camping in our own U.S. desert as you do in Baja... maybe more.

    My family and I are going down to Baja camping for Memorial Day and maybe again the next weekend to watch the Baja 500 off road race. Something bad might happen to us... no matter where we go or what we do... I choose to do what I want, not what the U.S. media tries to get me to do. ;) Have a nice day :)
     
  8. May 21, 2011 at 12:17 PM
    #8
    kingtaco

    kingtaco Well-Known Member

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    Wow dude really? I don't need a lecture on how to travel or keep my family safe. I'm I telling anyone not to go? This is what I chose to do. Have you been in a Mexican jail? I have...just for being American. People used to stop and party on revolution street all the time on the way down south. Like I said before we had some close calls down there. The truck being stolen was the last straw. You don't think the so called cops had something to do with it? At least in down town la you'll get some real help by some real cops. By the way, we started going down there when we were 18-19(by ourselves,not with parents). Can me and my buddies go down there now and have a good time? Fuck yeah we can! Can we take care of business if we had to? Fuck yeah we can. Do we really want to deal with that? No we don't. If you ever have a chance ask some professional baja racers if they would feel comfortable camping down there with just their family. Anyway, I don't want to get into a keyboard fight.

    Those trips were some of the best times I had. I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything.
     
  9. May 21, 2011 at 12:22 PM
    #9
    kingtaco

    kingtaco Well-Known Member

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    Wow dude really? I don't need a lecture on how to travel or keep my family safe. I'm I telling anyone not to go? This is what I chose to do. Have you been in a Mexican jail? I have...just for being American. People used to stop and party on revolution street all the time on the way down south. Like I said before we had some close calls down there. The truck being stolen was the last straw. You don't think the so called cops had something to do with it? At least in down town la you'll get some real help by some real cops. By the way, we started going down there when we were 18-19. Can me and my buddies go down there now and have a good time? Fuck yeah we can! Can we take care of business if we had to? Fuck yeah we can. Do we really want to deal with that? No we don't. If you ever have a chance ask some professional baja racers if they would feel comfortable camping down there with just their family. Anyway, I don't want to get into a keyboard fight.

    Those trips were some of the best times I had. I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything.
     
  10. May 21, 2011 at 1:17 PM
    #10
    David K

    David K [OP] Well-Known Member

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    On an Internet forum, this can be read by thousands, so what I wrote above was for the benefit of those thinking how they would like to go, but were affraid because of the RARE, but well published crimes agains Americans. I did say I don't blame you for not going and I didn't say your story was made up.

    No offense, I was only letting you know that your gut feeling was correct, yet you still parked in the strip club area or nearby (Revolucion avenue)... So, no need to dismiss an entire peninsula (2 states) because of that. It just isn't fair to the millions of Mexican people who are so kind or to the tourists who could find so much fun there.

    Anyway, I offered suggestions for avoiding any problems, take it or leave it... As for my trip report, it was in an area almost 300 miles from Tijuana, so let's discuss that area please. Of the other 7 guys who jouined me, 1 is a former SCORE off road racer, another has a son who is racing in the Baja 500 in 2 weeks from today... and they ALL camp or have a home in Baja... and none are affraid to go again and again.

    Have a nice weekend, none-the-less... maybe give Baja another chance, but this time pass through the cities and head for the wide open country that is 95% of Baja California!
     
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